First Reference to the Crossguard Lightsaber Found in Heir to the Jedi Novel

force_awakens_by_skyrace(fan art by skyrace)

It looks like the Star Wars Canon is already in motion, and faster than we may have suspected.  Many fans speculated that there would be little hints sprinkled throughout the first in the new line of Star Wars literature, as well the three new comic series and maybe even Rebels as well.  Donna Dickens of Hitfix seems to have caught on to one in Kevin Hearne’s Heir to the Jedi that we all may have overlooked.



Heir to the Jedi


From the pages of Heir to the Jedi:


“The power cell at the base was insulated and held no interest for me. Above that was a platform for the primary focusing crystal that gave the lightsaber its color.  Two additional crystals floated above it, balanced so precariously on mounting ridges that they could easily be disturbed-and they had been.”


“…aligning those crystals by hand would be impossible- I sensed that it had to be done with the Force, and only through the Force would I know whether it was aligned properly or not.  They were wafer-thin slices of crystal, too, a beautiful clear amethyst, and might scratch or cloud with handling.  Moving them precisely with the Force would ensure that they remain pristine.”


The above passages are from the very early pages of Heir to the Jedi. The narrative of this novel is written in first person, and Luke Skywalker himself tells it. Luke is describing a lightsaber given to him by a Rodian family of a dead Jedi named Huulik. The only backstory we get on Huulik is very vague, and I don’t want to give too much of the book away, but it does not imply anything special about the Jedi. The lightsaber is given to Luke as a gift so he can study it and learn how to build more of them. That is the reason it is disassembled.





So, let’s reference some things we know are canon about how lightsabers work. We know from The Clone Wars and Rebels that each apprentice makes a journey to a special cave to find their kyber crystal. Kyber crystals are what make a lightsaber a lightsaber, keeping the laser contained in a single-beam. Their properties are uniquely strong, making them the only geological element that can keep a lightsaber from becoming a thermal detonator. So far the only caves containing kyber crystals we know of are located on Ilum and Lothal, but there have been allusions to more. Both instances we have seen apprentices find their crystal, we know it is a unique journey, and that those kyber crystals do not come easily.


Why would a Jedi have three kyber crystals, when it’s hard enough to get one?  Well, so far in the canon, we have only glimpsed a lightsaber that would apparently require three kyber crystals.  You might have heard of it.



Main Villain


Now, there are several possibilities as to why Luke stumbled on three kyber crystals, and I don’t think an obscure, Rodian Jedi being the person underneath that Kylo Ren façade is one of them. Donna Dickens notes that nowhere in the canon have we heard of a lightsaber requiring three crystals. What was Huulik doing with all those kyber crystals, then? Maybe he wanted to build his own Excalibur-esque lightsaber. Maybe he was saving those crystals for a rainy day. The most overlooked part of this whole discovery via Luke is the glaring question: How did this guy end up with three kyber crystals?


Back to Kylo Ren, the reason we are all probably reading this. Kylo Ren’s character is rumored to have backstory with Sith/Jedi artifact hunting as one of his activities. In so far as the Star Wars canon goes, we do NOT know where Sith get their kyber crystals for their crimson blades. Another thing we don’t know is if Kylo Ren is even a Sith, noting the absent Darth moniker. As Luke notes above, the crystals need to be aligned by a properly trained user of the Force. At some point in Kylo Ren’s story, he learns to use the Force and build his unique lightsaber. It should be noted that just because Huulik’s lightsaber contained three crystals does not mean it is what we should expect to see in The Force Awakens. For all we know, Kylo Ren is the first one to use a lightsaber such as the three-bladed one in a very long time, or maybe entirely.





No one is sure how deep into Kylo Ren’s backstory Michael Arndt, JJ Abrams, and Lawrence Kasdan are going to let us in on for The Force Awakens. The first film in the trilogy might just give us a superficial glance at the character, where Episode 8 and 9 really carve out the nuance of the antagonist’s story. Just the crackling, electric sound of Kylo Ren’s blade lets us know that we are in uncharted waters where villains are concerned.  One thing we know now from these brief passages in Heir to the Jedi, is that Kylo Ren built a weapon that is as precarious in nature as it is deadly. The Story Group is nudging us a little bit here, while pointing at the last shot of the teaser we have all fawned over so many times, trying to say, “Yeah, he REALLY is that bad ass”.


Also it’s worth mentioning that the official Star Wars Twitter page posted that indeed that excerpt from the book unravels some of the mysteries of the crossguard lightsaber:


Keep your eyes open for other, subtle bits of information like this. There’s bound to be plenty, especially as we get closer to that December curtain rising.


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Kyle Larson lives in Portland, Oregon. When he's not running trails, he's reading and writing.

Kyle Larson

Kyle Larson lives in Portland, Oregon. When he's not running trails, he's reading and writing.

56 thoughts on “First Reference to the Crossguard Lightsaber Found in Heir to the Jedi Novel

  • March 19, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    It’s not canon anymore I don’t think but more than one crystal allowed for an adjustable blade

    • March 19, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      what the hell are you saying, everything after A new dawn (april 2014) is canon. Heir came put february 2015

      • March 19, 2015 at 8:37 pm

        Take it easy there, chief. He’s talking about old EU novels in which single-blade lightsabers used multiple crystals to modify the blade, like the multiple glass lenses in a telescope. That’s what is no longer canonical.

        • March 19, 2015 at 11:17 pm

          Anon 20:10 is so mad because he hadn’t yet gotten his coffee. He also hadn’t spouted out his daily PT hate, so the rage is building up inside.

          • March 20, 2015 at 4:03 pm

            I’m no PT hater. actally I hate PT haters…

          • March 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm

            People keep complaining about “PT haters” out of nowhere. It’s like they are asking the ones that dislike the movies to come out and say it. Let it be, we don’t need to be reminded of mediocre people or mediocre movies in every other post.

    • March 20, 2015 at 12:36 am

      “It’s not canon anymore I don’t think but more than one crystal allowed for an adjustable blade”

      Sounds like a Gillette Mach 3. I need to shave.
      And experience sunlight. ;{P

    • March 21, 2015 at 8:11 am

      Just to make sure we’re all aware of the decay of our language that most of us are complicit with: “Another thing we don’t know is if Kylo Ren is even a Sith” should be “Another thing we don’t know is whether Kylo Ren is even a Sith”, because “if” is typically the conditional with a consequence, and most often always part of an “if-then” statement, whereas a simple conditional is “whether”, such as, “Whether or not you care, you should know about this decay of language” or even “I don’t know whether we’ll ever think clearly, as we don’t cultivate the habits of speaking clearly.”

    • April 1, 2015 at 5:20 am

      There are many places where it is said that any type of crystal can be used. In fact, many Sith use synthetic crystals to power their lightsaber. Corren Horn builds a lightsber using crystals found on a brandy bottle to make a lightsaber. Using multiple lightsabers does make the length change.

  • March 19, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    The way I read the scene was that the upper two “wafer-thin slices of crystal” are there to act as lenses for adjusting the blade. Also, I doubt a crystal would be used in the same form that it was pulled from the cave. So it’s probably more likely that the two lenses came from the same piece as the primary crystal when the original crystal was processed to make it ready for the lightsaber.

    • March 19, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      I read it that way as well. The way that passage is written suggested to me that it was just one crystal originally, and the two wafer thin crystals Luke sees were simply cut from the original crystal and then placed in a way that would allow you to adjust the blade length.

      Nowhere in that passage, or even in that chapter does it suggest that that Rodian’s lightsaber was a prototype for the 3-beam saber in TFA. Luke even ignites the lightsaber to kill a swamp beast, and lo and behold it was just a normal single-beam saber.

    • March 20, 2015 at 2:38 am

      When I read the book, this is the exact thought i had. I can’t remember where in the EU i read it but I didn’t think even for a moment about a crossguard. I thought, ” hmm, Huulik could adjust his blade’s length.”

      • March 20, 2015 at 3:16 am

        One of my favorite old EU Jedi, Corran Horn, used one. His saber (which had been made partly out of a speeder-bike handle during trying circumstances) had multiple crystals to adjust the length. It can be rather useful to have a two-meter saber on occasion.

        If there are any young folk here who are curious about how fans viewed SW prior to the PT trilogy, look for the novel I, Jedi. It was the first first-person novel in TGFFA, and introduced the adjustable sabers.

      • March 20, 2015 at 3:20 am

        I don’t want any wafer shit in Star Wars. I just hope TFA is cool ass. But, by shifting E8 to summer, we’re going to get 3 new films in less than three years. Is this good?

        • March 20, 2015 at 5:06 am

          Is this good? Yes!

        • March 20, 2015 at 4:46 pm

          “I don’t want any wafer shit in Star Wars.” This made me LOL> Well said.

  • March 19, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    I couldn`t help but look closely at the top picture and notice the light saber blade looked curved in the background. Could be something to possibly explore further with that idea. Would be interesting if technology allowed for a scimitar like curved light saber blade in the star wars universe. If they can figure out light speed, I bet they could figure out curving a light saber blade.

  • March 19, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    its just fan art.

  • March 19, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    It would be awesome if the pic of Luke was a still from the movie. Like a flash back scene!

  • March 19, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    So…what have we learned? Very little.

  • March 19, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    You buried the lede there, Kyle. Should have started with the official confirmation. “Also it’s worth mentioning…” Yes, it is “worth mentioning” the official confirmation of the speculation.

    PS. And it looks like some people didn’t get to that part before posting.

  • March 19, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    I thought the description of the Rodian’s lightsaber in HTTJ was pretty cool and neat that Luke discovered that the complexity of it’s design relied heavily on the force. I disagree however with the notion that this has anything at all to do with Sithcalibur. Luke described the hilt in great detail and never mentioned nodes on the side or anything resembling a crossguard design. The crystals are more than likely for focus and color variations or something to that effect. In the previous non-canon material (usually in video games) other crystals were sometimes added for these purposes.

    • March 20, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      You disagree with something basically said in plain English on the official Star Wars twitter account? This isn’t speculation, it’s clearly meant to show that this type of light saber a) isn’t unique and b) is a difficult design that requires great power in the force.

      In other words it isn’t just some junk unstable lightsaber we see Kylo Ren wielding it’s a sophisticated piece of equipment with some history to it.

    • March 20, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      More proof that we geeks need to read entire articles before ranting…

      • March 24, 2015 at 4:29 pm

        My post hardly qualifies as a rant. Lol. I admit I didn’t see the twitter post until after I posted my comment. However, it still only confirms that Ren’s lightsaber probably uses three crystals. The hilt in HTTJ was not a crossguard design, which was my point. I see now that the article was meant to show the link between the designs with the use of multiple crystals. I still hold that the sabers are very different from one another in design.

  • March 19, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    This is just simple details so that we can have a trickle lead up to EPVII.

  • March 19, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    OR everyone is overthinking this and that the “Cross-guard” saber doesn’t have cross guards, but exhaust ports. Why?
    1) The lightsaber is clearly unstable
    2) If those were meant to be cross guard blades, why so much delay?
    3) The fact that they activate after the main blade is fully lit AND are affected by the WIND should be enough of an inference that this person (or the person who made it) wasn’t skilled enough in the force, made an unstable blade and thus created exhaust ports to keep it somewhat stable.

    Cross-guard theorists are going to feel really dumb once the movie comes out.

    • March 19, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      You honestly look like a troll, but it’s hard to tell with most people on the Internet. Your entire reasoning seems to be that in the trailer the two smaller blades come out after the first one, which doesn’t mean they’re exhaust ports. That’s just for a cool effect. The first blade ignites in the trailer, and everyone recognizes it as a sith lightsaber, then the cross guard ignites. It’s a very simple way of introducing us to the new lightsaber.

      Also the idea of exhaust ports on a lightsaber is really dumb.

      • March 20, 2015 at 5:04 am

        @Maggie Smith “The idea of exhaust ports on a lightsaber is really dumb.”
        – As opposed to a “new” lightsaber that screams “Old/Medieval” tech/design? Lol, even the man who DESIGNED lightsabers said it’s impractical. You’re right, they were put there by the Art department because it “looked cool”.

        – I’m not a troll, I’m just someone who offered a different opinion because apparently a lot of people are easily cowed into believing its a cross guard because it looks like one and now a novel mentioning 3 crystals suddenly = triple bladed lightsabers…

        -I think if cross guards were practical here then the Jedi/Sith would have designed their damn lightsabers with them thousands of years ago… just saying.

    • March 20, 2015 at 2:51 am

      Maul’s saber ignited in two separate halfs. We thought it was a normal saber and BOOM the other side ignites. This is just a similar reveal for the design. 99% sure that it was at least originally envisioned as a cross-guard.

  • March 19, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    @Darth Reliops
    (Sorry I forgot to click reply button)

    Great comment I really like that idea. It could be an ancient model light saber artifact where it was common for exhaust ports. Or an amateur built light saber with a design alteration for better performance. The light saber could be of a more powerful class of light saber requiring it to be regulated with an exhaust port to control its stability, without it the port it would be too volatile to yield.

    • March 20, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Honestly I don’t mean to be a dick but do you realize how dangerous an actual laser sword that can basically cut through almost anything actually would be? The idea that adding a crossgaurd of extra blades to it would somehow arbitrarily make it more dangerous is really really dumb, like a fucking 3rd grader wrote it dumb.

  • March 19, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    We don’t know Kylo himself built it

  • March 19, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    The cat people built it.

  • March 19, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    i don’t think luke is describing a crossguard or 3 blade lightsaber, the important part is how you have to be force sensitive to put a lightsaber together the right way. i think kylo ren is someone who wishes he was a jedi or a sith but isn’t and gets a hold of a broken lightsaber, but can’t repair it correctly.

  • March 20, 2015 at 12:07 am

    Maybe the crossguard crystals are different – only used for defense because their laser qualities are that they are inpenetrable and cannot cut like the crystals used for the blade?

  • March 20, 2015 at 1:06 am

    I have my own explanation that I think is the best out there. It says that Sith were destroyed in episode VI and there was none who could teach new sith to build one. He did what he could but his weapon was crude and unstable (have you noticed that the blade is not as smooth as typical lightsaber, it’s more primitive) and he had to somehow “vent” excess of power to aviod malfunction or even detonation.

  • March 20, 2015 at 3:10 am

    That image with Kylo ren and another Sith, could this be in the movie? Seeing we see this in the trailer, Kylo walking and then taking out his saber. Does he fight that sith? Does it happen in the movie?

  • March 20, 2015 at 3:12 am

    I don’t really see this as much of anything. I doubt that it has anything to do with the “crossguard” lightsaber. It seemed to me as I read it that the lightsaber just had three crystals – I imagine that it was out of the ordinary Luke would have commented on it.

    • March 21, 2015 at 1:20 am

      Read the full article, it is officially confirmed that this has some kind of reference that is relevant to the Sithcaliber.

  • March 20, 2015 at 3:46 am

    If kylo is the cyborgy dude then he probably has a metal arm from what we’ve seen, maybe a lightsaber exploded in his hand and all the talk about precision and difficulty building the lightsaber are the clues they were mentioning on twitter

    • March 20, 2015 at 6:09 am

      Maybe he has a fake hand so he can use the cross guard saber? Everyone is so concerned with the fact that the two extra blades are dangerous and can cut off the users hand. But what if he has a fake hand/arm so if he does, it doesn’t matter. Or maybe it is made of somethig impervious to saber blades.

  • March 20, 2015 at 6:07 am

    I assumed Kylo Ren’s saber was so slap shot and overly powerful (perhaps on purpose, to cut through “regular” lightsabers) that the two extra bits were more of an “exhaust” than extra blades or a cross bar. So much power in the hilt and since he has no real skill in making a lightsaber, he had to allow a way for all that power to escape beyond just the blade.

    I’m probably wrong though.

  • March 20, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Everything I read so far about canons, the movie etc. pp has zero content. It’s all gimmicks! and I think this is where Star Wars will head; weak story – just all gimmicks.

  • March 20, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Something noteworthy…It may have been mentioned before on other threads, but I didn’t see it here…In The Force Unleashed video game, you could find different crystals throughout the game to customize your blade. Along with the many colors, there were variations, one of them being an “unstable” crystal which, when ignited, looked very similar to the one seen in the trailer wielded by Kylo. Also, despite George Lucas’ claim to not have read the EU material and thus was not influenced by it, the same couldn’t be said for those working on concepts for the previous films. For ex. – Darth Maul’s double-bladed saber was not a new invention in the SW universe. In the Tales of the Jedi: Sith War comics by Dark Horse in 1995, the sith lord Exar Kun wields a similar saberstaff. The folks at Lucasfilm / Disney also said they will be mining previous Star Wars material. I think it’s obvious where this new look gets its inspiration, and for it to have done so is not unprecedented. Even Kylo Ren’s cloak and the mask we have seen in the leaked concept art are reminiscent of characters such as Darth Revan and the Sith-ending incarnation of Starkiller from The Force Unleashed.

    • March 20, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      uh… for what it seemed to me they look quite different, but the fact of him using a mask is what reminds of old EU

    • March 21, 2015 at 1:34 am

      Nice catch. This is from the wiki on unstable synthetic crystals (apparently from the “Jedi Academy Training Manual” sourcebook) and it sounds like an exact description of the Sithcalibur blade to me: “The blades generated by unstable crystals were obviously more unstable than the norm, causing the blades generated to crackle with energy at erratic intervals, sometimes causing sparks to fly or streaks of electrical energy to run along the length. Due to the energy sparking from the blade, unstable synth-crystals caused more damage than normal when they hit enemies. However, they were much more prone to shorting out, causing the lightsaber to deactivate for a time.”

      Makes me wonder, will that last sentence come into play for our heroes?

  • March 20, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    anyone remembering the idea of adam driver’s character or somehow a bad guy character being obsessed by ancient sith artifacts? that lightsaber seemed to me an ancient blade, look carefully at the blade… youll notice it’s more a flame-like turmoil than an interference with the wind…

  • March 20, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    The excerpt is way more interesting when you read it with Mark Hamill’s Ep VI Jedi-Voice…

    As far as alternate lightsaber concepts, one that I think might work if done correctly is to have a Light-katar, with the handle perpendicular to the blade [sort of like a saw, but with a straight edge], it could have a single lightsaber-beam warped into a magnetic matrix, causing the beam to arc backward into a receptor at the bottom of the handle, completing the circuit.
    think the image in the link, but with a glowing blade and Drax the Destroyer holding it… it could work…

  • March 21, 2015 at 9:13 am

    what if (dare i say it)ezra is the new sith to battle the rebels in episode 7/8/9. a darth vader remake. some people might not like it, but i think it would be a great idea

  • March 27, 2015 at 12:40 am

    JThis is just a theory so please don’t judge too harshly. But since we know the official star wars twitter page strongly hinted that it’s basically the same saber, what if kylo found it at some point and knew he couldn’t get the crystals exactly right but knew enough to modify it and make the energy flow outward instead of causing the saber to explode? I don’t remember what Luke did with it. I think he left it disassembled and placed it in a sack or something. Quite possible he lost it within the next 30 years and kylo found it. Again it’s Just a theory

  • March 31, 2015 at 3:21 am

    Boba Fett escaped that sarlacc pit!!! He obviously not only lost his memory but his face too! Darth Vader sent his special ops to rescue Boba as he knew how valuable he would be, et voila!

    About the Crusader-Lightsaber-thingy, who cares?! Just awful and ridiculous design and a disgrace to every real Star Wars Fanatic.

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